Friday, June 12, 2015

Adapting a Nikon super-telephoto to the Fuji X-T1

During the month of June the sun advances to its most northern point in Manhattan, as we approach the summer solstice on June 21st. On two of those days, 21 day before and after the solstice, the sunset is in perfect alignment with the grid layout of the city streets, and New Yorkers are treated to an event that is gaining in popularity called Manhattenhenge because it mimics the alignment of the summer solstice with the stone monuments of Stonehenge in England.

For me this period is a fun time to photograph the sun and its effect on buildings, streets, and environs of New York. Last night I was thinking about the 100-400mm zoom predicted to come out sometime in late 2016 -- a long way off. In the interim this leaves us with 200mm as the current maximum tele focal length in the Fuji lineup. For shooting close-up, dramatic shots of the sun or moon, or animals for that matter, 200mm simply isn't going to cut it. I have mentioned in the past that one thing Fuji needs in its optical lineup to really attract professional converts is going to be some super-tele lenses.

While I am waiting, impatiently, for Fuji to deliver us a super-tele option, I slapped a Nikon-G-to-Fuji-X adapter on the superb Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom and took some photos of the sun as it set into clouds above the horizon. The 400mm zoom extension gave me a long tele focal length equivalent of 600mm, and coupled with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E it was further pushed it to an equivalent length of 840mm. This is a manual focus setup so I won't be photographing any birds in flight coming towards the camera, nonetheless I can still have some fun with more static subjects and parallel moving objects. Below are a couple of shots I did with this combo last night.

With the sun setting directly to the west of Manhattan it is in line with the flight path to Newark Airport. For this shot I had only the Nikon 80-400mm zoom mounted on the Fuji X-T1 and was able to capture some to the jets passing in front of the sun on their final approach into Newark.  This shot was taken with an equivalent of 600mm lens, perhaps even a bit more, since I did crop it a bit into a more panoramic format. 

As the sun dipped into the clouds I added the Nikon 1.4x tele-converter to the lens resulting in an 840mm focal length, and with the square crop it is probably equivalent more to 1000mm. 
I really wish Fuij would step up production of some long telephoto offerings. Don't they know how many birders and animal photographers are out there chomping at the bit for a lens like this?

This is how the whole contraption looks  when assembled. Left to right: Fuji X-T1, Nikon-G to Fuji-X adapter, Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E, and Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom. 

In the meantime, there are several Nikon G to Fuji X adapter options out there. Some are more expensive than others, but they all do essentially the same thing. The real trick with a G lens is that there is no external aperture selector ring on the lens itself. (This is one reason I often prefer D lenses instead.)  To get around this the adapter must have its own ring coupling with the Nikon lens to open and close the diaphragm. This is a fairly simple operation. Personally, I use one of the more modest adapters, and it gets the job done. For anyone interested,  here are some options:

Metabones $139.00:  BH-Photo   Amazon
FotodioX $59.95:    BH-Photo   Amazon 
Fotasy $22.71:  Amazon

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